Pat Symonds, Renault's engineering director, was delighted with Fernando's race in Melbourne -- and impressed by Fisico's tenacious drive to fifth. Q: Pat, it seemed like a hectic weekend in Melbourne... Pat Symonds: It was a really hard...
Pat Symonds, Renault's engineering director, was delighted with Fernando's race in Melbourne -- and impressed by Fisico's tenacious drive to fifth.
Q: Pat, it seemed like a hectic weekend in Melbourne...
Pat Symonds: It was a really hard one! We had rain during practice, cold temperatures that made it hard to get the tyres working, and a race that was disrupted by a lot of incidents. In the midst of all that, we were able to show that our car has a great level of performance, so I am very pleased.
Q: A word about Fernando's race...
PS: A word? Faultless. He could run at the speed he needed to, when he wanted to. The safety car periods cost him and could have spoiled his rhythm, but he managed to establish good leads after each restart.
Q: Fisico's afternoon seemed trickier?
PS: He had a lot to deal with, yes. His problems began at the start when the car stalled. The safety car allowed him to close up the field, and he made good progress. In the middle of the race, he was complaining of a lot of understeer, but he managed to adjust the car to correct it. The clutch then failed after his second stop.
Q: And what were the consequences?
PS: On a machine as sophisticated as a modern F1 car, all the systems look to protect the car from this kind of problem until you solve it -- which costs performance. As soon as we did, Fisi caught Jenson very quickly, and put some pressure on him.
On a circuit where overtaking is hard, you then have to hope for a mistake from the guy in front, or that he will push his equipment too hard. That's what happened. It's a shame for Jenson, but it was a victory in its own way for Fisico.
Q: What about the tyre performance -- the conditions seemed to suit Michelin?
PS: Michelin had another great victory (on Sunday). Their tyres were perfectly adapted to the conditions, and showed consistent performance throughout. Thank you to everybody at Clermont for their hard work.
Q: Finally, it almost seemed easy for Renault in Melbourne...
PS: It was far from it! There were a lot of things to manage with Giancarlo, and we were very pleased to get him home in such a strong position. We are looking good after three races -- but there are fifteen to go. We are not getting excited, and we know that to be successful, we need to keep on developing the car and engine. Which is exactly what will be doing in the time between now and Imola.